Maryville, miscues end Sevier County’s season
All Sevier County needed was a stop.
The Smoky Bears had momentum on Friday night they never experienced in their first meeting with Maryville in September. Twice they had cut a three-touchdown lead to two. But instead of making stops, Sevier County committed miscues.
“If you make a mistake, they’re going to capitalize on your mistakes,” said Bears receiver Jacob Whaley. “They did about every time we had a turnover.”
That was often in Maryville’s 56-14 victory at Shields Stadium. Sevier County turned the ball over six times, helping the Rebels roll back into the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association’s Class 6A semifinals. Maryville put the Bears in deep trouble with 430 yards of offense in the first half.
“With Maryville, you’ve got to stay close,” said Sevier County coach Steve Brewer. “Maybe we kept it close for a little bit longer but certainly not like we needed to. The second quarter really got away from us.”
The Bears (11-2) were trying to avenge their only other loss of the year, a 55-6 defeat at Burchfield Stadium. After falling behind 21-0 early, Sevier County showed life by trading scores with Maryville (13-0). The Bears pulled within 28-14 in the second quarter on scoring grabs from Whaley and Dalton Ford.
But Maryville— relentless Maryville — marched 80 yards on five plays to retake a 21-point lead. Sevier County turned the ball over on its next four drives and headed to halftime down 49-14.
“You just can’t make mistakes,” said Bears running back Zach Sauls. “You’ve got to be perfect.”
Quarterback Luke Manning was picked three times by John David Mitchell, including twice in that stretch late in the first half. Manning finished 15 of 26 for 155 yards and two touchdowns in his final high school game.
It was tough to match Maryville’s efficiency. The Rebels faced just three third downs over their first five drives, all leading to touchdowns. Maryville wasn’t forced to punt until Logan Brett sacked quarterback John Garrett on the Rebels’ sixth drive of the night. The ensuing Sevier County drive lasted two plays before Mitchell picked off Manning. Maryville was back in the end zone a play later.
“I think John Garrett, a lot of decisions, we give him a lot of reads,” said Rebels coach George Quarles. “He knows what he’s doing there. He’s not fast. He’s not big. Just like you said, very efficient.”
Garrett rushed for 100 yards and threw for another 134, all in that first half. He had three total touchdowns.
One of his favorite targets, Cody Carroll, who gave the Bears trouble in the first game was at it again Friday. He had 72 receiving yards and a touchdown. He ran another one in from 39 yards on a reverse. His 37-yard catch on the fourth play of the game set up the opening touchdown.
“He’s very fast,” said Whaley. “We even schemed for him. I don’t know if we were making the right reads or not. We had a little confusion on defense.”
The game may have been best summed up by the start of the second half. Manning was blindsided on the first play, losing the ball in the process. Brian Tillery ran in from 18 yards out on the Rebels’ next play, putting Maryville into the 50s.
“They’re going to take advantage of (mistakes) and that’s what good football teams do,” Brewer said. “We just can’t turn the ball over against teams like that. ... It was not a good ending but it was a great season. I wish we would’ve played better. I think we competed hard but we just didn’t play very well.”